21. January 2017
Source: The Economist
IT firms need an upgrade in the face of technological and political shifts
COMPUTERS slow as they age, and before long must be replaced by newer models. Something similar is true of the business models of Indian IT firms. Specialised in running global companies’ outsourced back-offices, the likes of Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) used to be national champions growing at double-digit rates. Their prospects have dimmed of late; an entire industry built on the back of globalisation is fretting about the incoming American president. But Donald Trump is merely the latest threat to their operating systems.
Over three decades, Indian IT has become a $140bn industry built on a simple proposition: rich-country companies could trim costs by getting tedious behind-the-scenes IT work done by cheap engineers in India. The Indian firms hoovered up bright graduates—the big three have over 700,000 employees in total—paying them starting salaries of $5,000 or so, a decent local wage. After gaining some experience, tens of thousands were dispatched to client sites in Europe or America, along with a few expensive local staff. The rest ensured their clients’ computer systems kept ticking over from cosy cubicles in Bangalore, Hyderabad and elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »
29. November 2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Older people’s lack of focus is associated with greater creativity in problem solving, studies show
Most people are more easily distracted as they get older. There might be a benefit to that.
Research is finding that greater distractibility and a reduced ability to focus—what scientists call decreased cognitive control—is often associated with greater creativity in problem solving. It also can facilitate learning new information, according to a review of more than 100 studies that was published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences earlier this month.
“There are things that people learn faster and remember better when they are not exercising careful control over what they’re doing,” says Lynn Hasher, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto and senior author of the study. “Younger adults are focused on their goal and they’re missing all this other information. Read the rest of this entry »
2. November 2016
Looks like a lot of rubbish in its conclusions! (hfk)
Source: The Wall Street Journal
A new book charts the evolution of management consulting
Frederick Winslow Taylor popularized the notion of restructuring factory operations to strip out wasted movements. Taylorism was widely used to optimize work processes. Above, assembly-line workers inside the Ford factory in Dearborn, Mich., in 1928.
Before the term “management” referred to a multibillion-dollar industry with enormous influence over business practices, it applied to women’s skills overseeing their households. The first management best seller was “Beeton’s Book of Household Management,” a cookbook published in 1861.
Today, management advice is everywhere—taught in business schools, practiced by consulting firms, and disseminated by Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal. Even the Vatican engaged McKinsey & Co. and other consulting firms recently. Read the rest of this entry »
18. October 2016
Published on October 12, 2016
Featured in: Big Ideas & Innovation, Careers: The Next Level, Editor’s Picks, Entrepreneurship, LinkedIn
Clayton Christensen, Professor at Harvard Business School
My new book, Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, debuted this past week, but it’s work that’s been nearly two decades in the making. For years my research has focused on understanding why good companies so often fail, a quest that led me to write The Innovator’s Dilemma years ago. But as I tried to answer that question, a new and pressing one emerged: how can companies know how to grow? The answer, I believe, lies in getting at the causal mechanism of customer choice – knowing why consumers make the choices they do to pick one product or service over another. To understand this, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a critical question to ask: “What job did you hire that product to do?”
For me, this is a neat idea. When we buy a product, we are essentially ‘hiring’ it to get a job done. If it does the job well, when we are confronted with the same job, we hire that same product again. And if the product does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look around for something else we might hire to solve the problem. Every day stuff happens to all of us. Jobs arise in our lives that we need to get done. When we realize we have a job to do, we reach out and pull something into our lives to get the job done. When we ‘hire’ something to get a job done, we’re striving to make progress where we’ve been struggling. Jobs are not just functional – getting something done. They have critical social and emotional dimensions, too. Framing the question in this way has been a key to growth for companies as diverse as Intuit’s TurboTax, Khan Academy, and BuzzFeed. Read the rest of this entry »
5. October 2016
Kelli Wells is Executive Director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation.
OCT 5, 2016 Project Syndicate
NEW YORK – Understanding the future of work is difficult, if not impossible. According to the MacArthur Foundation, 65% of today’s schoolchildren will eventually be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet.
As technology, globalization, and many other factors continue to redefine work, one constant will be the need for soft skills, or “skills for life.” Peer-to-peer deliberation, brainstorming, and collaboration are familiar to working professionals today, but we can’t assume that they come naturally, especially to the millions of students without access to proper training and college- and career-planning resources. In fact, a growing global skills gap suggests that many young workers are already falling behind.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy has 5.9 million job openings, while 7.8 million people remain unemployed. In Europe, 5.6 million young people are unemployed, while another two million are neither working nor in school. Read the rest of this entry »
31. August 2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Companies put more time and money into teasing out job applicants’ personality traits
Many jobs that can’t be automated or outsourced require such ‘soft skills’ as critical thinking, empathy, or other abilities that computers can’t easily simulate.
The job market’s most sought-after skills can be tough to spot on a résumé.
Companies across the U.S. say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers.
Those traits, often called soft skills, can make the difference between a standout employee and one who just gets by. Read the rest of this entry »